Variational calculus methods were developed to study storm development in regions of high terrain. Budget calculations of kinetic energy, latent heat energy and vorticity were made for two cases of a cold front passing over the Alps and into the Mediterranean Sea. The analysis scheme accurately depicted the synoptically significant features while producing relatively small residuals in the budget computations. The results show that kinetic energy in the lower layers was correlated wih terrain roughness, where kinetic energy seemed to be damped by mountains. Adiabatic heating in the region of the lee slopes acted to weaken the front while adiabatic cooling in the region of the windward slopes acted to strengthen the front. The increase in moisture condensation in the upslope region acted to slow and intensify the frontal system. These analyses were used to develop a schematic model of the effect of high terrain on frontal movement and intensity.